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Old 24th April 2021, 22:17   #1
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Default Weekend getaway to Veerappan's birth place, Gopinatham

Prelude


Before I put together this travelogue, please allow me to add some bits about why we chose this place. I would like to call myself an avid wildlife enthusiast, thanks to my friend, who introduced me to Jungle Lodges and Resorts more than a decade ago. I always had a liking for all things wild. My first visit to Kabini back then (when there was no Black Panther yet and the prices were reasonable, well thats a different story altogether) ignited something that was always within me. There has been no turning back ever since. I make it a point to visit JLRs at-least 6 times a year.

Off-late, I am noticing many new JLR properties cropping up, and rightly so given the amazing hospitality I have been getting for more than a decade now.

So one fine day, as usual as I was browsing JLRs website, I saw a pop-up mentioning a new camp site in Gopinatham. I said to myself, "Wait! I have heard this name before". A quick google search showed me that it was the birth place of in-famous Veerappan. Interesting! it would be well worth a visit then ( and how right was I )

Booking and Route planning


I told my wife about this new camp site that has come up in Gopinatham by our very own Jungle Lodges, and she was immediately on-board. Yah about that, soon after marriage I introduced my wife to this amazing world of forests and wildlife(which she was unbeknown about). And thank god! she was instantly hooked to it as well. Guess what, with my first ever safari with her, in Bandipur, we saw 2 Tigers for more than 30 mins each. In previous 9 years of me visiting umpteen times to Bandipur and Kabini I had never got a chance to see the apex predator (always a glimpse of Leopards, never the Tiger). Talk about lady luck!

Okay, back to the booking part. As usual, immediately booked a tent on their site for the weekend.

About the route , google maps showed us that we have to go via Kollegal->MM hills route. Later I found out there is shorter route only after reaching there. More about that later

Google maps showing the route via Kanakapura->Kollegal->MM Hills. Total 5 hours.
Weekend getaway to Veerappan's birth place, Gopinatham-screenshot-20210424-8.52.29-pm.png

The drive


Even though it was a Saturday, we were surprised to see very less traffic all the way through out. Pardon me, I am unable to recollect the exact traffic density now. However, I can safely say the entire route was scenic and enjoyable. All the way to Gopinatham, there was no traffic. Especially once we crossed Kollegal the route was simply fantastic and scenic.

If one has driven to BR hills, they can relate. The landscape is very similar. Lot of winding roads once we enter MM hills and the ghat section is pretty well laid out for most part. I thoroughly enjoyed the ghat drive looking at the scenic forest, with all the different colours.

The ghat section road. Please excuse the quality as they are taken from phone camera.I can assure you that the colours are much more vibrant in real life.
Weekend getaway to Veerappan's birth place, Gopinatham-img_20210205_124431.jpg
Weekend getaway to Veerappan's birth place, Gopinatham-img_20210205_122942.jpg


Once you cross the MM hills temple, you enter the reserved forest. There was a check-post who asked for the usual vehicle details, where we are coming from and where we are headed. Just inform them that you are headed to Jungle lodges. They will guide you with upcoming deviations. This route is completely inside the forest and is pretty secluded. Through out the drive from here we were the only ones on the road, which me and my wife thoroughly enjoyed.

There is a deviation, where we have to take a left near a public school ( yup a public school inside the forest, as is the case in Bandipur as well). From there it's a straight route to JLR property. This route runs parallel to Cauvery river on your right, which looks simply fantastic.

Me trying hard not to distract myself from the view on my right.
Weekend getaway to Veerappan's birth place, Gopinatham-photo20210418131715.jpg

Please do not stop the vehicle for photo-ops here no matter how tempting it might seem, its a reserved forest after-all and there are resident wild Leopards and Elephants.

Last few kms from the property is where the village is and it is a mud road, my Bolero was happy seeing familiar territory.
Weekend getaway to Veerappan's birth place, Gopinatham-photo20210418131700.jpg

The property


What I understood from the naturalist is that this property was earlier a govt guest house for forest officials which is now converted to JLR property. I will let the pictures do the talking here.

The entrance
Weekend getaway to Veerappan's birth place, Gopinatham-photo20210424212238.jpg

Our camps
Weekend getaway to Veerappan's birth place, Gopinatham-photo20210424212237-1.jpg

View from the property, overlooking MM hills.
Weekend getaway to Veerappan's birth place, Gopinatham-photo20210424212237.jpg

Gopinatham Village
Weekend getaway to Veerappan's birth place, Gopinatham-0e4965a66ce44d3a8df4dea581ec7a51.jpg

Things to do


Although a fairly new camp site, the rooms are nice and hospitality is typical JLR. Very welcoming and courteous.

They are still planning to setup proper safaris here. There is no safari into the dense jungle like you find in Bandipur and Kabini. Its still WIP. What I understood is that they are planning to bring it soon if all goes well, as they are charting out safari routes.

There is evening safari which takes you into the jungle, not so interior, to the site where Veerappan had killed IFS officer P.Sreenivas. Who is revered here by the locals. May god bless his soul!

Weekend getaway to Veerappan's birth place, Gopinatham-8e3ea7a539304928b40dc39f669a24d7.jpg

Here, we also saw a deer kill by the wild dogs( most likely previous night), as the blood was still fresh on the floor and also some spleen, intestines all over the place.Unfortunately we did not see the wild dogs though.

Weekend getaway to Veerappan's birth place, Gopinatham-dsc04454.jpg

We came back to the property, where me and wife were the only ones in the entire property. This fairly being new I believe no one had booked it yet. Simply perfect!

At night we could see all the stars in its glory, we then ate to our hearts content and went to sleep. Next day morning we went for nature walk which goes into the forest. Do not miss it. Although we came across few locals who were fishing in the river near by, which I believe is not legal. But anyways! who am I to question, it's their village.

Next day we got to know that Hoggenakkal falls is only 9kms, then it occured to me, that means there must be a shorter route via Hosur. Which indeed was true. But then Hosur route looked boring. We took the same route back through the forest and ghat, which the Bolero loves.

Some departing shots



Weekend getaway to Veerappan's birth place, Gopinatham-dsc04509.jpg
Weekend getaway to Veerappan's birth place, Gopinatham-dsc04526.jpg
Weekend getaway to Veerappan's birth place, Gopinatham-dsc04542.jpg

P.S. - This is my first travelogue at Team-BHP. Hope you like it.

Last edited by GTO : 25th April 2021 at 10:16. Reason: Removing CENTER tags - thanks for sharing!
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Old 24th April 2021, 22:24   #2
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Default re: Weekend getaway to Veerappan's birth place, Gopinatham

I was checking out this property just last week and tonight, I see this. Wow!

JLR properties are good ones with standard fare. Thanks for the review of the place. I can imagine how pretty it must be on those winding roads along the river.
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Old 25th April 2021, 10:32   #3
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Default re: Weekend getaway to Veerappan's birth place, Gopinatham

Quote:
Originally Posted by vj_torqueaddict View Post
Off-late, I am noticing many new JLR properties cropping up, and rightly so given the amazing hospitality I have been getting for more than a decade now.

So one fine day, as usual as I was browsing JLRs website, I saw a pop-up mentioning a new camp site in Gopinatham
Great travelogue, and thanks for sharing! I had never heard of this new JLR camp. Thanks for introducing this new property to us.

By the way how are the interiors of those tents? Are those comfortable? Do they have a bathroom inside, and is that bathroom clean? I have stayed in various JLR properties over last several years, but they all were properly built up cottages. I have never stayed in such a tent, and hence asking.

Quote:
P.S. - This is my first travelogue at Team-BHP. Hope you like it.
This is a great way to start travelogues! You discovered a new place and introduced that to us in your first travelogue! Looking forward to more travelogues from you in future.
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Old 25th April 2021, 11:05   #4
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Default re: Weekend getaway to Veerappan's birth place, Gopinatham

Quote:
Great travelogue, and thanks for sharing! I had never heard of this new JLR camp. Thanks for introducing this new property to us.
Thank you! Loved your thread about Kabini visit with Jayanth. I have interacted with him few times on Instagram, very approachable guy. Looking forward to join one of his excursion in the future.

Quote:
By the way how are the interiors of those tents? Are those comfortable? Do they have a bathroom inside, and is that bathroom clean? I have stayed in various JLR properties over last several years, but they all were properly built up cottages. I have never stayed in such a tent, and hence asking.
Not sure if you have visited tents in BR hills, itís very similar to that. I am afraid I do not have interior pics. It has a comfy double bed, table fan. Bathrooms are clean, no complaints. But do not expect luxury.
We heard few deer predator calls late at night from the adjacent forest, so the place is pretty raw.

Quote:
This is a great way to start travelogues! You discovered a new place and introduced that to us in your first travelogue! Looking forward to more travelogues from you in future.
Thanks again!
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Old 25th April 2021, 11:43   #5
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Default re: Weekend getaway to Veerappan's birth place, Gopinatham

Beautiful log! Did you not try to go further and hit the KA side of Hoggenakkal? Its a great view. And of course the drive from Kollegal to MM hills and down towards Mettur is awesome to say the least.
And yes and a good thought on JLR's part to come up with this.

Last edited by ampere : 25th April 2021 at 11:57.
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Old 25th April 2021, 11:54   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
Beautiful log! Did you not try to go further and hit the KA side of Hoggenakkal?
Thanks, as it was a weekend we did not think of visiting it, anticipating crowd. We do not like crowded places.
May be will visit sometime during weekday for sure

Quote:
Originally Posted by V.Narayan View Post
Thank you for sharing your travels and beautiful photographs. Question - why the title ".....Veerapan's birthplace" why cash in on a nasty man guilty of multiple murders, kidnappings and theft of flora?
Thank you! My apologies, intent was not to ďcashĒ in on anything here. Simply wanted to share the other side of Gopinatham which has been attached with poor legacy of the brigand. No matter how we look at it, the place will remain forever attached to it. Why try to brush it under the carpet? It would be great injustice to the officers who laid down their lives to protect the wildlife.
I would be the last person to glorify the notorious brigand, having read first hand accounts from IFS officers.

If the mods feel the title should be changed, please do so.

Last edited by vb-san : 26th April 2021 at 11:55. Reason: Back-to-back posts merged. And please do quote with the poster's name included. Thanks!
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Old 25th April 2021, 11:55   #7
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Default re: Weekend getaway to Veerappan's birth place, Gopinatham

Thank you for sharing your travels and beautiful photographs. Question - why the title ".....Veerapan's birthplace" why cash in on a nasty man guilty of multiple murders, kidnappings and theft of flora? Why not simply title it by the name of the place. Why use the infamy of a criminal. Sorry to be preaching.
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Old 25th April 2021, 12:24   #8
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Default re: Weekend getaway to Veerappan's birth place, Gopinatham

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Originally Posted by vj_torqueaddict View Post
This is my first travelogue at Team-BHP. Hope you like it
Lovely write-up and thanks for introducing us to a new place! I have been a regular JLR-er myself, having slowed down of late due to Covid as well as spiraling tariff for most of their properties!

The place looks pristine and just perfect to relax in the midst of nature
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Old 25th April 2021, 15:31   #9
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Default Re: Weekend getaway to Veerappan's birth place, Gopinatham

Unusual and interesting way to tee off the travelogues on Team BHP.
Would have loved to see more pictures though, from the surrounding countryside.

The brigandís name definitely caught attention.
Brings back some sad memories since one of my close college friendís uncle (working in Forestry) succumbed to one of the killings back in the late 1990s.
My friendís aunt never recovered from the trauma.
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Old 26th April 2021, 10:11   #10
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Default Re: Weekend getaway to Veerappan's birth place, Gopinatham

Beautiful travelogue and worth going in future. I think for people in Karnataka and TN, we automatically know what is Gopinatham. Even I feel the guy is not worth mentioning in the title, maybe add it in text somewhere in the article.

Thanks for the information on this JLR property !
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Old 26th April 2021, 10:21   #11
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Default Re: Weekend getaway to Veerappan's birth place, Gopinatham

This is a learning moment for me -
1. First thought - JLR is Karnataka government owned. How come they are able to setup a unit in TN?
2. Then googling tells me Gopinatham is in Karnataka! The name indicated otherwise to me.

JLR camps are well maintained and run. We had been to Kabini in the first week of April and as always, despite the pandemic, it was a wonderful experience. vj_torqueaddict's goal of 6 JLR visits a year is a stretch for me. I hope to do 2 a year...
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Old 26th April 2021, 12:41   #12
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Default Re: Weekend getaway to Veerappan's birth place, Gopinatham

Awesome travelogue and thanks for introducing the new place. I used to frequent the JLR property at Kabini often a decade or so ago. Over the last few years the rates have gone up steadily and availability is an issue too. Last I checked in Dec 2019 the JLR property was working out to the same rate as the Serai next door . But the safari vehicle privilege is what drives the premium I guess.

I'll give this a shot on my next trip!
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Old 26th April 2021, 14:34   #13
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Originally Posted by yd_gli View Post
Awesome travelogue and thanks for introducing the new place. I used to frequent the JLR property at Kabini often a decade or so ago. Over the last few years the rates have gone up steadily and availability is an issue too. Last I checked in Dec 2019 the JLR property was working out to the same rate as the Serai next door . But the safari vehicle privilege is what drives the premium I guess.

I'll give this a shot on my next trip!
I can safely say that itís not just the safari vehicle that has added to the premium-ness. Itís the majestic black panther that was first seen around 2012-13( if my memory serves me right , as we too went in itís search after the news ). We could see the prices shoot up after the first sighting of it.
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Old 26th April 2021, 17:25   #14
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Default Re: Weekend getaway to Veerappan's birth place, Gopinatham

Thanks for the wonderfully written travelogue.
Having been on some these journeys, it brings back memories of the safari and the sound of the jungle so swarming with wild life.
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Old 26th April 2021, 20:51   #15
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Default Re: Weekend getaway to Veerappan's birth place, Gopinatham

@vj_torqueaddict.. do you happen to know if this JLR had a 16A plug either at the camp or reception, somewhere that If i decide to go in my EV, I can charge overnight. If they had a geyser in the room, then that much pretty would do for me.
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